Shall we go down the memory lane of words? Climbing down on the words of steps. Anne Brontë once wrote “But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.” A step lower, takes us to Antonie de Saint- Exuspéry, The Little Prince. “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” As a reader of this article, you must be wondering why we start this series with words of wisdom. Let’s go a step downward as we explore the art beyond.
The country Nigeria, do not fail to amaze us at macroshops. A country full of creativity and crazy hands on minds. A lady who makes her clips, brooch, bangles, and earrings with African prints using just needle and thread alone. She will make you wonder as a piece of cloth can be turned into a work of art. Ruth Inioluwa Akinnola was spotted via a news agency who recommended her. Ruth ‘Petalous’ was born in the early 90’s but the truth that age is only a figure but creativity is no master of age as it comes at you if one is humble.
She hails from Idanre, Ondo State in Western Nigeria. A town surrounded by hills and attracts millions of tourists around the globe that it got the recognition of UNESCO, attesting to its natural sights. Born in Ilesha, Osun state (Western Nigeria) into a clergy home and her mother being an academia. At age 6, she began to design with needle and thread “you know, what most people enjoy doing and being paid for today started with having fun in doing them” she said. She had her senior high school as a science major. LOL! “I never really liked the idea of school you know, my parents wanted me to major in science, but I couldn’t cope. My arithmetic was very poor and I wanted to focus on art because it just gave me joy” she said. She later got an admission to study Fine art Education in the University where she then majored in Textile Design. Initially torn between decision, showing some of her old works, she said “ I was initially into beads making, I also made bedspreads, bags and female outfits because I needed to be versatile.” She said.
Enrolling in Nike Okundaye Davies Art Gallery in 2013, to learn Tye ‘n’Dye, Ruth was still not satisfied. Narrating her story, she explained “Inspiration makes things easier for you as an artist. It presents to you a blueprint and saves you stress”. The use of fabrics to create flower art was an inspiration to her. Explaining how she started, she never had anyone to put her through but working on herself through the night, has brought her to limelight in the day. She started her brand- “Petalous Stitches” a fully registered clothing line in 2016. According to Ruth, she currently makes fashion accessories for females but plan to enlarge her market with time, incorporating male accessories into her collection and having a school of her own where she can impact the coming generation.
“Capital is an issue to most artists in Nigeria. Not as if they are not good, but exceptionally creative folks” she remarked. As a textile artist, having machines to help in tearing fabrics, to make work easier will be a great plus to her creations but she is ready to embrace any given opportunity to spread her creations abroad. Just like selling on macroshops.com. A mother will surely show her exceptional care. Smiling as she scrolls through her photo album she said, “My mum really supported my flower art. She got me my first set of tools needed to set me up. I love her so much.” Adding, “My very close friend Lanre Adelaja has been a shoulder to lean on and mostly, my father and siblings.”
Disclosing a moment she would not forget starting her brand, joyfully, “ I remember when I started selling my products, I sold as low as 200 naira and people still did not buy, I had to sell one for 50 naira so I could pay for my transport back home.” To her, there are no regrets so far because, her passion is an illumination over challenges and she sees non in the foreseeable future. “My self-confidence grew and I learnt not to under value myself when I won the Flexx your Creativity contest organized by FCMB Nigeria (First City Monument Bank).” She said. Giving more insight, she said, “I don’t see myself giving up on my passion for anything because I have paid the price of time and I work to improve myself each day”. She has been mentored by Nike Okundaye Davies, a renowned Nigerian Textile Artist. Smiling with confidence, she said “I don’t look up to anyone as far as my flower art is concerned. I got inspired and worked drastically on perfecting my art which is a continuous process for me.”
On a final step, she calls on all start-ups not to give up on their dreams because friends and family will discourage but, time is important and when it is well invested, a fruitful end is guaranteed.
For her works, do visit http://macroshops.com/product-category/accessories/?v=4e45c2af0995
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Won the FCMB Nigeria “Flexx your Creativity” contest. September 11, 2016.